Simon and Garfunkel facts: Songs, why they split, their Central Park show and reunions
21 March 2022, 12:34 | Updated: 13 July 2023, 16:13
Simon and Garfunkel are one of the greatest duos of all time, thanks to their unique blend of moving lyrics and stunning harmonies.
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Here are all the important facts about Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that every fan should know:
- Simon & Garfunkel's 15 greatest songs ever, ranked
- Art Garfunkel’s emotional 2021 performance of 'Scarborough Fair' proves he still has his stunning voice
- Listen to the Gold 60s Live Playlist on Global Player
How did Simon & Garfunkel meet?
The duo first met in primary school in Queens, New York, back in 1953, and they learned to harmonize together early on.
Simon first saw Garfunkel when Garfunkel was singing in a fourth grade talent show, and Simon realised it would be a good way to attract girls.
They soon appeared in a sixth grade play of Alice in Wonderland, and they formed a doo-wop group, the Peptones, with three other friends.
By 1957, they chose the name Tom & Jerry, and the teenagers had a small success with their song 'Hey Schoolgirl', a homage to their idols The Everly Brothers.
In 1963, they switched to folk music and changed their name to Simon & Garfunkel.
Simon & Garfunkel songs: What are their biggest hits?
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water (from The Concert in Central Park)
Their biggest and most famous songs include:
- The Boxer
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- Homeward Bound
- Mrs Robinson
- Scarborough Fair
- The Sound of Silence
When and why did they split up?
The recording of the Bridge over Troubled Water album proved to be difficult for the pair, and their relationship had fallen apart.
"At that point, I just wanted out," Simon later said.
Simon's wife at the time, Peggy Harper, asked him to call Clive Davis to confirm the duo had broken up in 1970.
They would then only speak "two or three" times a year for the next few years.
Throughout the 1970s, they reunited a couple of times, and recorded a single song 'My Little Town', for both of their solo albums in 1975.
In 1981, they staged a free concert for over 500,000 in Central Park, New York, which proved to be a huge success.
The duo planned a world tour together in 1982, but they relationship stayed sour throughout the trip.
After recording several tracks for a new album, Simon decided to make it his own solo album. Garfunkel didn't learn the songs and refused to give up his cannabis and cigarette habits.
A spokesperson said: "Paul simply felt the material he wrote is so close to his own life that it had to be his own record. Art was hoping to be on the album, but I'm sure there will be other projects that they will work on together. They are still friends."
When did they last perform together?
Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence - Madison Square Garden, NYC - 2009/10/29&30
In February 2009, Simon and Garfunkel reunited for three songs during Simon's two-night stay at New York's Beacon Theatre.
This led to a full reunion tour of Asia and Australia in June and July, 2009. Later that year, they performed five songs at the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden.
They later headlined a set at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but it proved difficult for Garfunkel, who had vocal problems at the time. He had been diagnosed with vocal cord paresis, and the remaining dates were postponed.
In 2014, Garfunkel said he hoped he and Simon would tour again in the future, but said: "I know that audiences all over the world like Simon and Garfunkel. I'm with them. But I don't think Paul Simon's with them."
In 2016, Simon said: "Quite honestly, we don't get along. So it's not like it's fun. If it was fun, I'd say, OK, sometimes we'll go out and sing old songs in harmony. That's cool. But when it's not fun, you know, and you're going to be in a tense situation, well, then I have a lot of musical areas that I like to play in. So that'll never happen again. That's that."